In this space, our host eviscerated the study on which the recommendation to do away with gas stove was based on. What was hilarious was that overnight, experts, congress critters, and pundits put out fully formed positions against gas stoves that they spewed on social media.
No one objected to gas stoves the week before, the year before, the decade before, or ever. But once Richard Trumka, Jr. had spoken, everyone who thought they were someone scrambled to line up behind him and this ridiculous idea.
I would be willing to wager that 90% of those are who newly against gas stoves have one installed in their kitchen. And 10% of those might actually do a spot of cooking on occasion. It is well known that the restaurant-quality gas stove is often a fixture in homes that do little or no cooking, but having such a stove is a marvelous means to show off one’s wealth.
When I was a wee lad, my family lived in an area that was prone to blackouts. The slightest bit of wind could mean hours of sitting in the dark, with only a kerosene lamp for light. My father would roll a sheet of newspaper very tightly and touch the flame on the gas stove to ignite the lamp and little lumps of leftover Christmas candles retrieved from the backs of drawers.
The stove wasn’t generally used for cooking, as the blackouts conveniently often occurred after dinner, but kettle might be put on for a boil for a cup of instant coffee or as a means to “wrench” the dishes. (In our peculiar vocabulary, to wrench was to rinse.)
The furor has subsided, with declarations of “Joe Biden isn’t banning gas stoves.” But it’s not clear that a truce is in place. One’s position on gas stoves seems to have devolved into a Red vs. Blue issue, where Red is doing the cooking and the Blue is ordering from Uber Eats.
One thing is certain: Bad ideas never die.
Maybe it won’t be this year or next year, but there will be a time when someone will march out the “gas stoves cause XYZ and must be eliminated” trope. Since the idea will be relatively fresh, historically speaking, as a collective, we may be more open to it.
The reception the second time around will be a little warmer (no pun intended). In the meantime, before there is any sort of mandate or regulatory supervision, forward-thinking one-time gas stove lovers—looking for a replacement stove—may deliberately give electric stoves a second look, especially if there is the lurking thought that in some period of years they may have to go through the hassle and expense of de-installing a gas stove to replace it with electric.
They may opt for electric to pre-empt any potential future headache. Consequently, the demand for gas stoves may drop without anyone actually doing anything other than sounding off on Twitter.
With this recent coverage, the barrier has been breached and the idea is “out there” on its own without a leash, there is no one to rein it in. There is no one to say, “Let’s have a second look at this study with a sample of children (N=9).” There is no expert saying, “Gas stoves have their place in kitchens of America, and we must honor that.”
No. The experts are in retreat, and will come forward to attack after they have had a chance to marshal their resources, re-frame their arguments, and get some regulators on their side.
The people, the largely Red people, must not sleep. They must be ready for this new attack and be prepared for it. Otherwise, this very bad idea has a very good chance of seeing the light of day.
Remember: If you like your gas stove, you can keep it.
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